Save money. Save the planet.
Thanks to the introduction of the renewable energy target, the use of Solar has increased across Australia with over 2 million homes currently being powered with solar energy.
What is solar energy?
Solar panels are made from silicone, a material that produces electricity when light falls onto it. When the sun is out, these solar panels convert UV light into DC (direct current) electricity.
A solar invertor then converts the DC electricity into AC power (alternating current) the type of electricity that is used by home appliances.
These home appliances can then use this electricity instead of purchasing power from the grid.
How do I save with solar?
Because you don’t need to purchase as much electricity from your electricity retailer, you will save on your power bills.
Therefore, if you are wanting more energy independence, to reduce your electricity costs, and power your home with clean, affordable energy then solar may be for you.
Each time you receive your electricity bill, you’ll automatically see the reduction in your charges and the feed-in tariff credits. You can also automatically draw energy from the grid, when you need to.
As a bonus, financial incentives are currently provided by the Federal Government and some states across Australia for installing solar in your home.
The Federal Government have the small-scale renewable energy scheme.
How it works
A certain number of small-scale technology certificates (or STCs) are generated for each kilowatt of solar panels you install. Electricity retailers, needing to meet their renewable energy obligations, buy these STCs from you and for each certificate you can receive approx. $30.00.
For example, with a 5kW system this would be around $2250 off the cost of the system. However, most prices shown for solar systems will have this discount already factored in, so you can’t claim an additional $2250 off the price.
Note: The value of STCs is declining by 7% at the start of each calendar year (January 1st) as this scheme is gradually being phased out through until 2030.
Currently being piloted in the Hunter Region the Empowering Homes program is a scheme providing interest-free loans for solar-battery systems to eligible NSW residents. Eligible households include owner-occupiers with an annual household income of up to $180,000. Interest-free loans of up to $9000 for a storage battery or up to $14,000 for a solar PV and battery storage system will be available. For more information, please see the NSW Government website.
Eligible Victorian households can receive a rebate of up to $1,850 off the purchase cost to install solar PV panels through the Solar Homes program. An interest-free loan equivalent to the amount of the rebate can be claimed by eligible households until 30 June 2021.
The same offer is available to eligible landlords for rental properties. For details, please see the Solar Victoria website.
What does solar cost?
Solar is now cheaper than ever due to government rebates and falling solar prices.
For a 5kW system (a commonly installed size in Australia), you can expect to pay:
- Between $5500 to $8000 for good quality solar panels with a string inverter
- Between $8000 to $9500 for good quality solar panels with microinverters
Is solar worth it?
Solar is worth the upfront costs in most cases.
You can expect to reduce your electricity bills by 30 to 60%, so a typical home will recoup the initial investment in between 3 to 5 years.
How much of the system’s power you’re able to use during the day will determine how quickly you recoup your investment. Being home during the day, as many of us are now with flexible work from home options becoming the norm, you’ll be able to recoup the investment faster, perhaps closer to 3 years. Alternatively, you can expect it to take around 5-6 years to pay for itself, if you are not at home during the day.
So, take the first step, check out solar and see if it’s right for you.
Acknowledgment: Australian Energy Foundation.